Why does this seem to be such a difficult concept for people to grasp? These two items, while interconnected, are necessarily Siamese twins. There is a difference in who an individual is at work and who they are at home. There should be. If there isn't - problems beyond what you can measure will rise to the surface and I assure you it is not the "cream" but rather the mold that sits on top of algae in a pool without chemicals. Is this hypocritical? No. A hypocrite is a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives. I do not do this - I profess my true feelings and beliefs to students on a regular basis, I have extremely high expectations of them as well, but if you're asking do I surround myself with misguided or unmotivated people outside of work? The answer is an affirmative NO! Who does that?
What prompted this particular rant? My thought of the day: "Motivation is simple. Eliminate those who are not motivated." Someone had the AUDACITY to ask me, "Is this what educator's do?" Really? REALLY? This quote was put out via Facebook - the root of all evil sometimes - but nonetheless a social networking site where people blab about absolutely random information for all the world to see (like this blog). I am as much a part of this as anyone else, but I take it for what it is worth - a social networking site. I spend my time on FB sharing links from Urban Dictionary for the definition of Creatons, Hoosiers, and Morons because it's funny (and true) but NOT the pinnacle of my life. I post a quote from time to time that resonates with me personally - not professionally - and enjoy those who understand the difference of who I am in my classroom and who I am in my life. This person is NOT the same person.
Why? Because it'd kill me if it was. Let me help you see the light - but do watch out because once you are enlightened you may want to take cover - this will be freight train rushing towards you at an alarming rate.
Would you be shocked to know that your average elementary teacher is kicking back Martini's at happy hour at least once a week? Or that your Middle School Principal chugs beer with his hunting buddies? Or that your high school math teacher doesn't want to be the neighborhood math tutor and writes novels on the side? Yes - you probably are. You might be just as surprised to find out your History teacher runs marathons, that your English teacher plays the guitar, and that you Science teacher sings in a band. Do you know why this surprises you? Because for some reason there seems to be a disconnect about teachers also being people - real live people with wants, needs, desires, and aspirations. With families, friends, and all that comes with having a normal life. We are wives, husbands, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc... What's upsetting about this is the average person wraps the title of a "teacher" up as someone's self worth at all times. Do we do this to secretaries? Do we expect that, just because someone is an administrative assistant at work, they are the ONLY person that could be responsible for ordering anything, finding anything, or typing anything at home? We don't...but when it comes to teachers, we do (Teachers and Preachers I think - but I know Preachers are also human). If you work with kids all day, you should want to work with them all night. If you help people learn all day, you should want to do this all night. If you pour all your energy into motivating a young mind, then we should pour any remaining energy into motivating the rest of the world. It's beginning to sound ridiculous, isn't it? How do people become so narrow-minded?
I am a teacher because I love to teach. I love, beyond a shadow of a doubt, helping a child reach their full potential; being the motivation they need to succeed. I love diving headfirst into the middle of their life, supporting them as the grow as a student and as a person, and applauding them when they walk across the stage at graduation. I have laughed deeper, loved more, and cried harder for and with the children I am entrusted to educate each school term in the last seven years of my teaching profession and I plan to continue this for many years to come. But, there is a catch to all of this.
At school I am motivated to help young people and I give them all I've got. I work with them day in and day out tirelessly to bring them up to acceptable standards, and for those that can make it, exceptional standards. Often these children are not intrinsically motivated and it is my job, my quest if you will, to help them see they can be more than they are. I am good at my job. Without "tooting my own horn" too much, I know I work my ass off for these kids - all day, every day. And if you were to ask me if I believe that those who are not motivated should be eliminated in my classroom, no I don't. But in my personal life - you better believe it.
At the end of the day, the week, the month, the year - I'm tired. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. And there isn't a teacher out there that wouldn't agree with this sentiment if they are really giving a 100% to being the best teacher they can be, teaching like "their hair is on fire". But it is this exhaustion that prompts me to make connections in my personal life that are far different than those with the children in my classroom - as they should be.
As an educated adult, I want my family, my friends, and my acquaintances to be self-sustaining. This does not exclude the occasional helping hand or down-trodden time, nor does it mean a well-done all out bitch sessions isn't sometimes in order, but this does mean that as an adult you have a purpose to your life and wish to fulfill it. It is ludicrous to believe that because I teach children, I should be so patient with adults. No, I should not. They've been TAUGHT and therefore know the difference between those that work hard and those that don't. Forewarned is fair-warned and I regularly tell students to enjoy high school because once they join my society, all the rules change.
So, in my personal life do believe I should eliminate those who are not motivated? The proverbial "negative Nancy", glass is half-empty, pessimistic, wants to blame everyone else for their problems, lazy, sit on the couch and eat bon bons, complaining fool that can not grasp the idea that their happiness, their life, their drive, and their MOTIVATION must be intrinsic at this point and time? Yes, yes I do. "And that's all I have to say about that..."